mercredi 28 juin 2017

Terrace building last few days

Day 1 progress

45sqm of decking and 1310 screws later...

Crazy stormy weather this week with some pretty impressive storm fronts coming in from the North-West.

mardi 27 juin 2017

More photos from the portering trip

One of the guides on my mountain portering trip - George Manly - sent me these breath taking pictures of the Etang Long from our trip. Well done George, beautiful shots.

mardi 20 juin 2017


A collection of butterflies from the poly tunnel - Purple emperor, large white, speckled wood, marbled white and a white admiral.

lundi 19 juin 2017


139 bales safely made and stored away...Tough work in a temperature of 36 degrees celsius in the shade (97 fahrenheit). Very itchy and we drank a litre an hour of home made elderflower lemonade!

dimanche 18 juin 2017

Hay making

Hay making last couple of days. just cutting the flattest part of the field in front of the house for starters. In the heat it only takes a day to dry. After a swim with Susie and Sandrine in the river, Nathaniel very kindly dropped by with a borrowed "andaineur" to put the hay into rows ready for bailing. When I pulled the bailer out of its parking place, one of the tyres disintegrated - which threatened to put pay to the whole operation (the bailer only cost 50 euros!). Then I remembered the old identical bailer abandoned on the Plat d'Artigue. I quickly whipped the wheel off destroying my car jack in the process! We managed to swap the wheel with the damaged one on my bailer and after several hours of fiddling by Nathaniel we got the knotters back in action. A quick 30 or so bales of hay to check all was working and we're ready to do the rest of the field tomorrow. We should get 150 bales - enough for the sheep this winter.

vendredi 16 juin 2017

Chemin de Liberté

Spent the last four days being a porter for a UK film crew filming a documentary to air in the autumn on UK television (channel 4). I can't talk about the subject matter yet. There were supposed to be 3 or 4 porters with us each carrying about 10 kgs plus personal gear, in the end there was only me after day one, so my load was pretty horrific (over 20kgs) mostly masses of rechargeable batteries and rechargers, lunches and rubbish - lucky I travelled light and took a 80 litre rucksack. Although the distances each day were short with relatively little height gain (2000m in 3 days), the weather was very hot and with much filming 'en route' the days were usually 12 hours between huts. One camera man got ill and had to be evacuated on day 2.

A new col for me above the Etang Long on day 3 which gave some nice views of the Port de Barlonguere, before a descent into Spain.

launching the drone - 'de rigour' these days

The team

Looking down on the Etang Long towards the Port de Barlonguere

Monty in front of Valieret

Back home and caught a huge horse fly in the poly tunnel Tabanus Sudeticus fully 27mm long!

Tomorrow with hot weather forecast for the next 2 weeks, we'll make some hay.

samedi 10 juin 2017

Terrace, garden and broody hen problems

Busy for the last few days lifting the old stone patio (which after 11 years was full of weeds) and casting a new slab and foundations for a timber terrace. The timber doesn't arrive until the end of the month.

Susie's garden is looking amazing and starting to become productive - lettuce, chard, artichokes, leeks, spring onions.

Shelly our broody chicken is broody again only 8 weeks after the last period of egg sitting. We don't have room for more chickens so we've been trying in vane to stop her broodiness. Cold baths (which have worked in the past with other hens) have failed and this morning we thought we'd had success with getting her to sit on some frozen apricots! She left the nest and joined the others...but after a few hours she once more trying to sit.